It is relatable that the English articles 'a', 'an', 'zero', and 'the' often raise difficulty not to ESL/EFL learners alone, but even to learners of English as a first language. It is often found that the articles are a source of difficulty to learners as well as teachers of English as a second/foreign language and it is especially true about learners whose native languages do not have articles or do have articles or article-like morphemes which are used in ways that differ from English articles. An analysis of the morpheme acquisition by the learners of English as a foreign language confirms this difficulty with regard to the acquisition of English articles and it was found in a study by Brown (1973) that the articles 'a' and 'the' came at numbers nine and ten in the acquisition of fourteen morphemes. ...
al errors in the use of indefinite articles and a focused study on the Japanese lower-intermediate tertiary level learners, as attempted in this paper, brings out some pertinent issues in the use of articles by EFL learners.
One of the most obvious difficulties in the learning of English by the lower-intermediate tertiary level learners of Japan is the use of articles and an understanding of the language situation in the country provides the significant explanation for the type of difficulty with the use of articles. An important reason for the problems with the use of articles in Japanese context can be traced in the structure of the Japanese language along with other reasons. The Japanese students find it hard to follow the rules for the use of the article in English which are very complex. To explain the problem in linguistic terms, it will be particularly noted that there is no provision for the use of articles in the Japanese language. The absence of the article in Japanese raises serious trouble to the learners of English, especially in the early stages of EFL as in the case of the lower-intermediate tertiary level learners of Japan. It is also relatable in this context that Japanese language does not differentiate between singular and plural noun forms in grammar except in a few specific cases. This problem with regard to the concept of countability in grammar for the Japanese speakers also causes difficulty especially to the novice learners of English in the learning of English indefinite articles. The result of all these language differences in the use of articles is that the teacher of English in the lower-intermediate tertiary level introduces the articles to the learners as a totally new type of word and there is serious difficulty in the teaching of the
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